(BPT) - According to a recent survey by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA), which was sponsored by Meda Pharmaceuticals, nearly one-half of allergy sufferers (48%) are highly satisfied with their prescription allergy treatment and report high satisfaction for their children too, suggesting that a visit to a health care professional might be the best way to identify the right treatment.
The online survey included 1,001 U.S. adults (18 and older) and parents of children ages 12-17 with seasonal allergies. Most reported having moderate to severe symptoms in the spring, summer and fall.
Millions of adults and children have seasonal allergies and its prevalence continues to rise. Trees, grass, and/or weed pollens usually trigger seasonal allergies at certain times of the year. Some people are allergic to many types of pollens and experience seasonal symptoms throughout the year, while others have symptoms only for a few weeks out of the year. Common symptoms include sneezing, runny nose, congestion and nasal itching.
Allergy experts Eli O. Meltzer, MD, Allergy & Asthma Medical Group & Research Center, San Diego and William E. Berger, MD, FACAAI, Allergy & Asthma Associates, say the survey's results underscore the importance of knowing how best to treat your allergy symptoms and what is triggering them. There are many different types of prescription and non-prescription treatments available so it's important to have a discussion with your doctor about what the best choice is for you.
According to the survey, parents are more likely to seek out medical attention for their children with seasonal allergies, but not for themselves. For example, parents of adolescents with seasonal allergies reported their children are significantly more likely to be treated by an allergist (24%), primary care physician (35%) or pediatrician (30%). But adults surveyed reported receiving allergy care from a primary care physician (58%). Far fewer adults (14%) see an allergist for care.
"Involving an allergy specialist and having conversations about seasonal allergies can lead to higher rates of satisfaction, more symptom relief and appropriate treatment for individual success," explained lead author Eli O. Meltzer, MD. "Parents are already doing this for their kids to a large extent, which is good news, but they need to take the time to care for themselves too."
An allergy specialist can help determine what's triggering an allergic reaction and work with patients to control or prevent symptoms. Some treatments don't adequately control symptoms and others have unacceptable side effects for some people. An allergist can help navigate the options and help identify strategies and treatments that work best for every individual.
"Moderate to severe seasonal allergy symptoms can impact productivity, sleep and drain energy. Many people suffer miserably, yet there are very effective treatments to manage symptoms," notes Dr. Berger. "What is most important is taking the time to see a physician to learn how to best manage symptoms and not self-treating without first seeking a doctor's advice."
Dr. Berger suggests scheduling appointments well in advance of allergy season because treatment is more effective when it begins early. A professional can explain the different types of treatments and work with patients to determine what type of treatment is the best fit. "Many seasonal allergy sufferers don't take any action until they start to experience symptoms, which quickly can escalate from bothersome to debilitating," says Bryan Martin, DO, Ohio State University and president of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI). "But allergy treatments work best when they're taken before the onset of symptoms, so it's important to plan ahead, before the season hits full force, so you're armed with the tools and medicines that provide the most effective symptom relief for you and your family."
Highlights from the AAFA's National Online Symptom Management & Allergic Rhinitis Treatment Survey:
* 48% of adults and 57% of children are very or extremely satisfied with their prescription treatment
* 19% of adults reported they were not seeing any healthcare professional for their allergies
* 80% of both adults and children classify their allergy symptom severity as moderate or severe in the spring, summer and fall
The seasonal allergy survey was sponsored in collaboration between AAFA and Meda Pharmaceuticals Inc. This article was sponsored by Meda Pharmaceuticals Inc.
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